Problem: You're un- or under-employed, and the party season is in full gallop. Your wardrobe has hit its lowest low since the angora batwing trend of early '01.
What's a fashionable gal to do?
Solution: Naked Lady Party.
In brief, NLPs bring together girlfriends seeking to offload underused clothing in exchange for that of their sisters in style. This cost-free fête liberates you from castoffs, amasses a pile of new (at least to you) gear, and gets you out of the house before the third season of Buffy goes to DVD.
Before you start whipping it all off in the name of freshly picked fashion, there a few things you should know. The following are the basic Top 10 rules for any good NLP. They can help you avoid tears, jeers and the prying eyes of neighbors curious why you have a bunch of naked women in your living room.
1. Dump. Invite fashionable gal pals (no more than 10 to 15). Make sure they bring their unwanted clothes to your home--clean. At a pre-designated time (usually after two Cosmos), invitees can pile their donations on the floor in the center of the room.
2. Sort. For an orderly party, clothes must be divided according to size, type (pants, skirts, leopard handbags) and style (vintage, designer, Southeast-indie-rocker-thrift-threads, etc.).
3. Browse. Although there's something cathartic about a spirited free-for-all, the picking process should be structured to minimize greed and chaos. Participants can draw lots to have first pick of the pile, or they can tag-team. Appraise your friends. Use judgment. Put down the scissors.
4. Model. Sashay this way, ladies, because this is the best part of the party, the naked part. Find out if those J-Lo jeans fit on the spot. Get co-participants' opinions on your chosen gear. Note: This is not an opportunity to partake in nightmarish sorority hazing (e.g.,"Your ass looks like a bus in that pencil skirt," etc.).
5. Swap. After the initial flurry, you may find that the copper platform shoes in your hand aren't quite what you wanted, but a friend's camel Cherokee cha-cha heels are. Feel free to make trades, but don't grab them when they're not looking.
6. Donate. There are always orphans--pieces no one wants--at the end of Naked Lady Parties. Instead of sending them home with their owners, the party host should bag them and donate them to a worthy thrift outlet. Clothing that truly has no second life should be tossed.
And, ladies, always remember your NLP Ps and Qs:
7. Don't bring crap. Stained T-shirts, pilling sweaters and blown-out jeans get passed over at the Goodwill bins every day--why would you "gift" them to your best friends? Bring only those clothes that still have style and stamina. Make the effort to give someone else a "find." We are building fellowship here!
8. Don't be grabby. Elbows-out linebacker stance is bad form, as is tugging. And ripping. As a rule, participants should only take home as much clothing as they brought.
9. Mum's the word. You may think that plaid corduroy jumper is gobsmackingly dag, but don't say so. Control exclamations of "Oh my God, who brought this?" It could be your (former) best friend.
And last, but definitely not least:
10. Consider cocktails. Offset the Soviet desperation of a Naked Lady Party by augmenting its "party" aspects--festive beverages, smart toothpick canapés. Champagne and wiener wraps not only lend an air of class, they also head off hypoglycemic tantrums.
Now, let's get naked!
If you intend to cut up that gold lamé opera cape into dachshund raincoats, wait until you get home. Although Naked Lady clothes are technically rejects, it still hurts to have a once- well- loved item dissected under the gaze of its former owner.
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